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CCSLRI leads annual ODU workshop for teachers

Aaron Karp

On Saturday 22 February 2014, ODU's annual United Nations simulation conference featured a workshop on climate change and sea level rise. The event for high school teachers presented major challenges for economic, geographic and social adjustment and American policy-making. Titled “The Touchy World of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: Natural Science, Social Science, Philosophy and Psychology,” the workshop stressed ways to publicly discuss these sensitive issues without slogans and polemics, and how to teach them to a divided and often skeptical classroom.

The annual conference — ODU's largest simulation event — brought together 1200 mid-Atlantic high school students from seventy schools and their teachers for three days in Norfolk's Sheraton Waterside Hotel. The workshop offered the accompanying teachers, mostly high school social studies teachers, a chance to hear ODU experts address a wide range of sea level rise topics.

The audience saw ODU's multidisciplinary strengths showcased. After a welcome by Regina Karp, Director of ODU's Graduate Program in International Studies, Dr. Hans-Peter Plag, Professor of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and CCSLRI Co-Director, opened the event with an introductory presentation on “The natural science of climate change and sea-level rise.

Other presentations included:

  • National security implications of climate change, Joe Bouchard, Cox Communications
  • The impact of climate change on public health, Muge Akpinar-Elci, ODU Associate Professor of Health Sciences
  • Climate change in American domestic politics, Glen Sussman, ODU Professor of Political Science
  • The philosophy of climate science, Robyn Bluhm, ODU Associate Professor in Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • What do you know that I don't? Adaptation to sea level rise, David Earnest, ODU Associate Professor of Political Science
  • The social-psychology of attitudes to sea level rise, Poornima Madhavan, ODU Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Sea level rise: politics, policy, and the public, Wie Yusuf, ODU Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Public Administration

The workshop was co-sponsored by the ODU Model United Nations and AccessEU, a research project at ODU supported by the European Union.

An audience survey of the event, undertaken after by ODU's Social Science Research Center, showed responses were enthusiastic. Typical were the comments “Very informative workshop! I'e learned a lot” and “Greatly needed awareness!” Another participant noted “I look forward to introducing climate change into my class and having them analyze the political, economic, social and environmental aspects... We attend several conferences... but this is the only one that offers a faculty program and it is a superb resource that I appreciate. Thanks for a great conference!”

To view the agenda see here.

Muge Akpinar-Elci, ODU Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Director of the Global Health Center, talked about the impact of climate change on public health.

Glen Sussman, ODU Professor of Political Science, shared his thoughts on climate change in American domestic politics.